From the Vita Patrum – “the Wisdom of the Desert Fathers”
One of the fathers said, “Once when some of the seniors were gathered together and talking about serious matters, one of them who was a seer was aware of angels stretching out their hands to anoint them. But when the talk went on to aimless worldly matters the angels departed and foul-smelling swine cavorted about polluting them. When the talk returned again to wholesome subjects the angels returned and anointed them.
The holy Fathers were masters of the human heart and human suffering. They understood well the shortcomings of our fallen nature. Often they spoke of the dangers in idle chatter. They lived the life of the Angels and conversed with them. Through their manner of life and depth of prayer, hidden things were made known to them and great mysteries were unlocked. They were granted divine illumination and were given many gifts.
It was said by one Father, “I have never had to repent for something that I did not say” and how true this is. One of the unfortunate fruits of the technological age is the ability to create chatter, rumor, and slander on a mass scale using such “tools” as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Further, more and more of our young people are separated and separating themselves from Church. An analogy is like a mighty river breaching a dam. Without reinforcement, it is only a matter of dam before the dam completely fails.
Such is the onslaught of the struggles in these times. We should not be deceived concerning the root of these evils. As our warfare is spiritual in nature, so must our weaponry be of like kind. How is mortal man able to contend with the dark spirits? Were it not for our Guardian Angel, and the intercession of the Saints we would be lost. Behold the words of Divine Scripture:
+ Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:11-18
The Holy Apostle Paul speaks of the “whole armour of God” and he describes it as consisting of Truth, righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, Faith, salvation, spirit. We may understand this is correct belief in the True God, uprightness of spirit, trusting in the Lord’s words as He spoke in the Gospels, undying faith that in God, all things are possible, that the Lord is the Salvation of the world, and that we are to worship our God in spirit and in truth. This may be summarized as true faith and true worship. Outside of this, we are defenseless.
O Lord, O Lord, Thou art my strength, my refuge, and my salvation!